Four-time NBA champion and 2017 Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green has agreed to return to the Golden State Warriors on a four-year, $100 million contract, Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer reports. Green will have a player option on the fourth year.
The 33-year-old veteran averaged 8.5 points (53/31/71 shooting splits), 7.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 31.5 minutes over 73 games for the Warriors this past season, earning his eighth spot on an All-Defensive roster.
While Stephen Curry has been the central figure of Golden State's prolific offense during its dynastic run, Green has captained the defense. His ability to guard all five positions unlocked the Warriors' famed Death Lineup, which launched them to three titles and a 73-win regular season in a four-year span from 2015-18.
Green has been a primary passer in Golden State, operating as a release for a double-teamed Curry and finding open scorers in 4-on-3 situations from the nail. Only 11 players have averaged seven points, seven rebounds and seven assists or more in a season since 2000: LeBron James (11 times), Russell Westbrook (eight times), Jason Kidd (six times), Draymond Green (five times), Nikola Jokic (five times), Luka Doncic (four times), James Harden (three times), Ben Simmons (three times), Dejounte Murray and Domantas Sabonis.
"We really want Draymond back," Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. told reporters after Green declined an option on the final season of a four-year, $99.7 million deal he signed in 2019. "What he means in terms of this organization and this team, winning at the highest level, we feel like we have to have him."
When Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul announced Green's decision to enter free agency, the super agent said in a statement to ESPN, "We will continue to talk to Golden State and explore all options." Those options included interest from the Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers and Green's hometown Detroit Pistons, according to Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer, but it was always hard to believe he would leave the Warriors.
With Green's defensive intensity comes a fieriness that can spill into troublesome behavior. He infamously struck superstar LeBron James in the groin at the end of Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals, earning his fourth flagrant foul of the postseason and an automatic suspension for Game 5, which opened the floodgates for the Cleveland Cavaliers' comeback from a 3-1 series deficit. A 2018 on-court argument with Kevin Durant that carried into the locker room served as an impetus for Durant's free-agency departure at season's end. And Green's violent punch of teammate Jordan Poole at a practice spoiled this past season's title defense.
Golden State's recent trade of Poole's massive four-year, $123 million contract for the final year of 38-year-old future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul's deal signaled a choice between the two-timeline approach and an all-in effort to maximize the final years of Curry's prime. Rather than attempt to develop prospects around the core of Curry, Green and Klay Thompson, the Warriors were leaning into a superior collective IQ.
That made re-signing Green a priority. He vacillated between impactful and downright detrimental on Golden State's quest to a fourth championship in 2022, there is no question he has lost a step on defense, and he has not shot better than 30.8% from 3-point range since 2016. Still, the Warriors would miss his ability to ensure everyone is connected on both ends of the floor, and that is no small aspect of a dynasty.
That gets you paid handsomely in the NBA. See the $155.6 million he had already earned to this point.